Weekend update:

3/1/2010: The football team apparently made it through the weekend arrest free. The cheerleading squad, on the other hand, reports a DUI. Can’t blame this one on the coach, UO still hasn”t replaced the previous cheerleading coaches Laraine Raish and Corine Lewis, who were suddenly and mysteriously fired last summer.

Over the weekend KVAL reported that the NCAA has given LaMichael James permission to live with the UO sports nutritionist while he looks for other housing:

KVAL News received the statement below from the NCAA in response to recent challenges faced by the University of Oregon athletics department related to NCAA regulations and star running back LaMichael James. The UO had sought a waiver on a possible violation of rules in the wake of charges brought against James. James was released from jail on house arrest and living with an athletic department employee, in violation of NCAA rules.

The statement in its entirety read:

“Due to some of the challenges the institution faces in this situation, a temporary waiver has been provided to the school to assist staff in working through the situation and avoid potential NCAA extra benefits rules violations. The waiver is in effect as long as the institution can show it is working to find the student-athlete permissible housing and demonstrate active involvement with the court.”

Should more americans go to college?

3/1/2010: Most of what I’ve seen on this (e.g. the Frohnmayer report) simply assumes they should, reporting clearly misleading numbers like the fact that college graduates earn more. (The average effect, not the marginal.  Because they go to college, or because they are smart enough to go to college? Doesn’t it matter what they major in?) Here’s a debate on the subject, sponsored by UVA’s Miller Center. One factoid:

Today, just under 40% of Americans 25 to 34 years of age hold a two- or four-year degree. While this number has remained stable for decades, other developed countries have seen a steady increase in their number of college graduates in recent years. America is somewhere in the middle of this group, on par with countries like Australia and Spain. Meanwhile, countries such as South Korea (53%), Japan (54%), and Canada (55%) have pulled considerably ahead of the pack.


2/28/2010: Mark Baker of the RG has a few stories today on the UO football team’s troubles. Best quote is from Eugene sports psychologist Steven Ungerleider, the author of the wonderfully titled “Faust’s Gold“, a book on the East German athletic industry. A guy who clearly knows a thing or two about how far obsession with athletics can go.

“They’re spoiled brats,” he said. “They can do anything and there are no consequences.” 

I’m guessing he’s not going to be lecturing in the Jaqua Center anytime soon. Of course, as Ed St. Clair Sr. notes in his RG letter, the team’s rate of legal problems is well below that of, say, the US Congress – who seem to have a similar disciplinary process.

AAUP troubles?

2/26/2010: Insidehighered.com has a story on troubles with AAUP union voting procedures. The AAUP and the AFT are jointly sponsoring the UO OA/Faculty union organizing effort:

WASHINGTON — An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor has forced the American Association of University Professors to redo last year’s election for the position of chair of the Assembly of State Conferences (which consists of all of the state AAUP bodies). The department found that the association did not follow proper procedures in the election it held last year.
The Labor Department’s interest in the AAUP’s elections has also been of concern to the United University Professions, the faculty union of the State University of New York, which is affiliated with both the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers.
At the UUP’s convention this month, a proposal was made to disaffiliate with the AAUP. The motion was tabled, pending a review by UUP leaders. A spokeswoman for the UUP said that one of the issues of concern was whether the Labor Department’s scrutiny of the AAUP’s election practices might extend in ways that would lead to challenges of election practices of the UUP.


2/26/2010: In breaking news, we’ve now obtained summary data on UO’s cheese and egg expenditures. But many questions remain. Tillamook Cheddar? Oregonzola? Individually wrapped slices of processed american? President Lariviere is still refusing to tell the faculty. This stinks. And why are top UO administrators – you know who you are – still hiding the butter and milk expenditures?

Cheese & Eggs OR Sysco Portland Inc, $147,506.62
Cheese & Eggs CA US Foodservice Inc, $83,135.17
Cheese & Eggs OR Umpqua Dairy Products Company, $71,690.59
Cheese & Eggs WA Floyd Peterson Co, $46,224.04
Cheese & Eggs OR McDonald Wholesale Co, $27,250.17
Cheese & Eggs OR DPI Specialty Foods Northwest Inc, $8,424.88
Cheese & Eggs OR Core-Mark Distributors, $7,963.79
Cheese & Eggs OR BakeMark Ingredients Inc, $4,766.03
Cheese & Eggs OR Food Services of America, $2,374.02
Cheese & Eggs OR Costco Wholesale, $1,027.94
Cheese & Eggs OR Pacific Coast Fruit Company, $350.85
Cheese & Eggs CA Smart & Final/dba Cash & Carry, $302.06
Cheese & Eggs OR Market of Choice Inc, $98.67
Cheese & Eggs OR Irvin, Daniel $41.97

Slow day

2/25/2010: Not much worth posting lately. That’s a good thing. Also good, the legislature is letting us sell bonds for a new 451 bed dorm “residence hall”. What do they call them at Hogwarts?

Senate funds University of Oregon residence hall — Daily Journal of Commerce (The first step toward increasing the percentage of University of Oregon students living on campus, according to Gregg Lobisser, UO’s director of student activities, is to stop calling student living facilities ‘dormitories.’ “When people think of dorms, they think of barracks,” Lobisser said. “The term residence hall speaks more to a new model we are exploring that integrates academics with residential life.” The next step in the process is to construct a new 451-bed residence hall. The state Legislature on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 5564, which allows the state to sell $75 million in bonds to build the hall designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects on the east end of UO’s campus. But the new living facility is only the beginning of a long-term plan for the portion of undergraduates living on campus to reach 25 percent.)

One of the concerns about borrowing $235 million for the arena, according to the experts at Accredited Debt Relief, was that we’d bump up against a debt limit – looks like that’s not a problem, yet.

UO Foundation revenue and expenditures

2/24/2010: From the Greg Bolt story today in the RG:

According to the latest figures released by the university, the UO brought in $75.6 million in the first seven months of its fiscal year, a pace that would easily surpass the goal of $90 million to $100 million a year if it can be sustained. 
Almost two-thirds of the gifts promised so far this year are directed to academic programs and about one-third are for athletics, Lariviere said.
Meanwhile, the Chronicle reports these numbers for the UO Foundation endowment:

From June 30 2008 – June 30 2009:  $470,515,000 to $386,509,000  -17.9%

How to reconcile? The RG is reporting pledges, not money received. This is standard practice. The swings in the endowment also look pretty standard for recent years. Here is some stuff from the most recent Foundation report, from which the Chronicle numbers are taken:

The “other” category includes pledges of the sort that the RG is reporting. You should subtract 10% or so for shrinkage – while these are legally binding pledges, they don’t all come through – and another $35 million or so for liabilities tied to gifts. Again, all standard stuff.

Where does the money go? That’s harder, because state law gives the Foundation an exemption from the public records law – which they exploit pretty much to the hilt, releasing only summary data like this:

You can see that they spent more on scholarships to athletes than for merit and need scholarships. In 2009 they spent about 6x as much on athletic facilities as on academic ones – but obviously that ratio fluctuates wildly. 
The $3 million for “Salaries and Other Expenses” includes the $300,000 or so the Foundation paid to Frohnmayer to top off his state salary. We will probably never know who donated that money, or what sort of favors they might have got in return.
You can get a little more detail like the pay for the foundation President ($310,000) from the IRS 990 form here. But this is wat out of date, because the foundation takes every opportunity for allowable IRS extensions on filing these reports. Also standard practice for this business, unfortunately. The IRS is going to substantially tighten up on reporting, I think in time for the next report, due 5/15/2010.

Who pays for those athletic scholarships anyway?

2/22/2010: Seems like a good time to remind people that the UO athletics department’s claims of self-sufficiency are pretty thin. Through a very odd deal tied to a failed sports gambling game, the state Lottery Commission pays $1.2 million a year to the UO athletic department for athletic scholarships. They’ve used the subsidy to increase coaches’ salaries.

In addition, the academic side sold athletics the site for the Jaqua building for $1, paid another million in so in costs for it, and, from what we can deduce so far, paid about $5 million for the athlete only parking slots in the Matt Court parking garage now under construction – or more accurately those costs will be spread out over all people buying parking passes.

And, from Rachel Bachman of the Oregonian, earlier this year:

Oregon sports lost $1.2 million the fiscal year before Bellotti took over the athletic director’s job from Pat Kilkenny, according to a report every school files annually with the NCAA, released to The Oregonian this week in response to a public records request. The gap is significant because for the past six years Oregon athletics officials have touted their economic self sufficiency.

 Then of course there’s the tax expenditure cost of the deductibility of donations to athletics. Roughly, every dollar donated costs federal taxpayers $0.40, and state taxpayers $0.10.

the beatings will continue until …

3/1/2010: The football team apparently made it through the weekend arrest free. The cheerleading squad, on the other hand, reports a DUI.

2/22/2010: Rumor is that a Lane County Grand Jury is investigating the Masoli / Embry laptop assault and will make a decision this week.

2/22/2010: James apparently beat up his girlfriend – a UO student – and now the Athletic Department is falling all over itself,  trying to persuade the court that he should be given a special exception and allowed back on campus. So that he can keep his eligibility to play football in the fall. That will teach the rest of the team a valuable lesson. The judge isn’t going for it.

2/21/2010: Coach Kelly draws a line in the sand – not at trying to strangle your girlfriend, but at using Facebook to criticize him. From the Oregonian:

The post read: “How you (expletive) kick kinko (sic) off the team on some weak (expletive). … he slipped up but ive been slippn up, and I’m still here, that (expletive) … could damage for the ducks, that (expletive) is weak, weak (expletive), quote me.”

Reached Sunday by phone, Kelly said Holland was dismissed for a “violation of team rules.” Asked if the violation had anything to with Holland’s Facebook status update, Kelly said: “I won’t get into the specifics, but you’re smart enough to figure it out.”

2/20/2010: Back in the day this would have been newsworthy, (Bellotti’s Nanny was cussing out the reporter too?) and worth a full blown coverup attempt by the athletic department. Bellotti suspended his son for 3 games, but told the press he wasn’t playing because he had the flu. But at point this getting through Friday night with just a 2AM underage DUI while uninsured, for one UO linebacker (not clear if the other two guys were on the team) is probably a relief:

Mere hours after Oregon coach Chip Kelly answered questions about his team’s slew of off-field troubles, Ducks linebacker Kiko Alonso was picked up for drunk driving. “If a player doesn’t live up to the standards we have for the football program, then they’re not going to be here,” Kelly said Friday. “But I’m also not going to follow our kids around every Friday or Saturday night so I can see what happened to them.” Kelly almost made it through Friday night, but at 2:19 a.m. on Saturday morning, Alonso was stopped at the 7-Eleven on East Broadway in Eugene and cited for DUII.

Less than 12 hours after Kelly reads them the riot act. They know Kelly won’t make his $2 million a year without them. And they realize UO is so far in the hole to Phil Knight that Lariviere can’t do anything either. Party on!

Lariviere decides to update his statement: 2/20/2010 PM Version. Given Bellotti’s role in hiding past discipline problems and the recent string of new events you have to wonder exactly what it will take for President Larviere to stop saying he has “every confidence” and “full confidence” etc. in these guys. Obviously they run their own shop and he has no more control over them than they do of their players.

The University of Oregon has clear expectations of how its student athletes are to behave both on and off the field of play. Lately, several of our athletes have fallen far short of these standards. This is simply unacceptable. The University of Oregon does not tolerate inappropriate conduct from any of its students. I know athletics director Mike Bellotti and head coach Chip Kelly share my concern about recent events involving UO players and are working hard to address these incidents. I have every confidence that they will restore the UO athletic program’s long and proud tradition of sportsmanship and integrity. Our loyal fans and alumni expect no less and neither do I.

2/20/10 AM version.

We do not have all the details regarding the alleged incident involving a University of Oregon football player. I have full confidence in Athletics Director Mike Bellotti and Head Coach Chip Kelly to address this situation appropriately, and to keep me fully informed. Our student athletes are students first, and our response will be the same as if it were any other student. 

2/19/2010:  The story from the Oregonian describes UO’s response – it’s a little different from what the average student would get:

EUGENE – James Harris, the self-proclaimed “fireman” for the Oregon athletic department, has come to the rescue of another Oregon running back: LaMichael James. Harris, the Ducks life skills director who helped guide LeGarrette Blount over his “academic and behavioral ladders” in the wake of punching an opponent on national television, will now provide James with a temporary residence in his Eugene home in the wake of domestic violence charges that landed the 20-year-old in jail earlier this week. “It’s my job to support the athletes within the boundaries of the NCAA and the law,” said Harris, who would not confirm that James is his new temporary housemate although Harris’ address appears on the release agreement The Oregonian obtained Friday.

2/17/2010: This is getting sad. From USAToday, and more details from KVAL. Strangulation?

Oregon running back LaMichael James has been arrested by Springfield police. The 20-year-old tailback was taken into custody Wednesday and lodged at the Lane County Jail on misdemeanor charges of menacing, strangulation and assault. Springfield police said they were not ready to discuss details of the incident.

2/16/2010: While nobody is talking about Masoli and the Macbook Pro, we do hear this from KVAL: 

Police have made another arrest in an assault that put a University of Oregon football player in the hospital last month, citing the injured player himself on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.

2/1/2010: The Oregonian is reporting:

UO now claims they took Embry off the roster *before* the alleged heist – funny they forgot to mention that until now.

1/31/2010: The UO athletic department is trying to keep a lid on things until signing day, with mixed results. From the RG this weekend:

UO player cited after man beaten at party:  … Eugene police who were called to East 16th Avenue and Mill Street at 12:34 a.m. Saturday cited Matthew Ryan Simms, 20, (207-pound junior defensive end from Salinas, Calif) on misdemeanor simple assault charges. Simms was released pending a future municipal court appearance, police spokeswoman Melinda Kletzok said. She would give no further details.

Second LCC student arrested in beating: Eugene police arrested a second man Thursday in connection with the Sunday assault on University of Oregon football player Rob Beard. … Eugene police spokeswoman Melinda Kletzok said police are not releasing any other details about how they came to arrest Hawkins and Peterson, citing the ongoing investigation.

Week-old frat theft still generating buzz, silence: No one — not the police, not the University of Oregon, not the complainants or the accused — is releasing any new information about a case that has kept online news sites, blogs and Twitter accounts humming for almost a week now with rumors after an alleged theft last weekend by two University of Oregon football players at a campus fraternity house. … There have been no developments in the case but it is still open and under investigation, police spokeswoman Melinda Kletzok said Friday.

Paula Rogers case

2/19/2010: I got an extensive anonymous post in the comments section this morning from a Paula Rogers supporter. I don’t have any inside knowledge about this case, but the general pattern of retaliation – for which the jury awarded damages – and counterproductive behavior by the UO General Counsel’s office described here sure rings some bells. Frohnmayer kept Melinda Grier on because she was willing to hide things for him, and he had a lot to hide. Here’s hoping Lariviere soon decides he’d rather have someone competent as his lawyer.

Anonymous said…
The recent jury verdict related to charges of race-ethnic discrimination at the UO simply confirms the patterns of retaliation and hostile employee relations that are documented throughout this blog. My understanding of the situation is that Professor Rogers reported wrong-doing, including illegal discrimination, to University authorities. She then experienced systematic retaliation, ending in the termination of her contract. This termination was exacted in a highly irregular fashion and contrary to the vote of both the midterm review committee (including both departmental and external members) and her department. Until reporting the illegal discrimination all reviews of her work had been exemplary. The retaliation was clearly spearheaded by those who were the focus of the reports of discriminatory behavior.

This pattern of discrimination and, especially, retaliation has been repeated numerous times throughout the University. When challenged, the University, using the Attorney General’s office, spends inordinate amounts of money fighting charges of discrimination. (For instance, the state has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting this particular case and that is before payment of damages and legal costs to the plaintiff.) The administration also engages in extraordinary measures to harass those who dare to challenge them, with numerous and varied attempts to ruin reputations and financial standing of their challengers and their families and friends. Only a very few, brave people are ever able to withstand the onslaught and the deep – in fact virtually bottomless – pockets of the University and the state’s legal apparatus.

The UO’s approach to employees appears to involve fierce attacks on anyone who dares to question an administrative decision or to point out possible wrongdoing. One, now retired, administrator has been quoted as saying, “We’ll always fight as hard as we can against employees. Only a few people will have the energy to continue all the way against us. Even if we eventually lose a few cases, most people will be too scared to take it all the way, even if they have the law on their side. Thus we probably save money by playing hard ball.”

I’m not a lawyer, but I have been told that smart organizations approach employment relations in a manner exactly opposite to this. Smart organizations use employment lawyers to help them figure out how to conform to laws and regulations and obey employment related laws – not to harass and intimidate employees or to justify decisions and practices that are blatantly illegal. It is time that the UO entered the 21st century and began to do the same. They should reinstate Professor Rogers to her position and develop fair, non-discriminatory practices and procedures.

Parade! Giant "O"! Victory Lap!

Eleven people have now emailed me the memo below. Yeah, I got it too. Sorry, it’s beyond parody.

I love the small Department graduations we have now. So far as I can tell these are almost unique to UO, most schools have one big, long ceremony. With ours the students are all together with their fellow majors and are in a great mood – or hungover, or on their way to it. It’s fascinating meeting the parents. You get all kinds of useful feedback from seeing and talking with students and parents – all kinds.

And it’s just interesting learning what, where and from whom these kids come from.  Big guys in chainsaw hats with 8 & 1/4 fingers. People who are impressed because I’m a professor in a gown. People who think I’m an idiot because I’m a professor in a gown. Single Moms who are just so happy they are done with the tuition bills. Grandparents hobbling around smiling.  “I was a teacher in Sutherlin for 32 years – I’m just so proud of her.” Little brothers looking up to their big sister, literally. Babies. Divorced parents with new partners, but wanting a picture with just the two of them and me and their student in the middle. Tough job people, but from what I see I think you did OK by your kid. I hope you think I did my job too.

Instead of reinforcing and building on this, we are going to have a parade and then jump through a giant “O” and do a victory lap of Hayward Field and then sit there and listen to a bunch of overpaid administrators give self-congratulatory speeches?

You are fucking kidding me.

PS: But the food fair idea is brilliant. Get a Nikasi booth and you can count me in.

February 17, 2010


TO:        Faculty and Staff

FROM:        Jim Bean, Senior Vice President and Provost

SUBJECT:     2010 Commencement Information

I want to take a moment to update you on the commencement activities that will take place on Monday, June 14.  A committee has been planning a complete transformation of the commencement exercises for the past year. We are excited to reveal new traditions that will honor the achievements of our students.

To briefly give you an idea, we will begin with an academic parade at 9 a.m. where all students, faculty and staff will march down 15th Street to historic Hayward Field where the University Graduation Celebration will take place. We hope that our faculty will lead their respective school and college delegations in the parade. Students participating in the parade will be excited to see faculty who have been instrumental in guiding their academic endeavors at this event.

The parade will end at Hayward Field where you and graduates will cross through a large Oregon “O.” Graduates will be greeted by family and friends who will cheer as a victory lap is taken around the field before being seated on the infield for the celebration. Our updated ceremony will showcase student achievements over the past four years, remind students of the experiences they have shared, and enjoy remarks from a university prominent alumnus.

Following the University Graduation Celebration, our traditional school, college and department ceremonies will take place at noon and 3 p.m. In between ceremonies, we will encourage guests to take a walk around campus, visit the student’s classrooms, visit a museum and enjoy a nice graduation meal at GradFest on 13th Street. GradFest is a new addition to our day and will feature food vendors as well as a photo booth and DuckStore booth.

Campus will be busy during graduation weekend, hosting the NCAA Track and Field Championships from June 9 to 12 and Commencement on Monday, June 14. In addition, zero-week classes for summer session begin on June 14. While it is an honor to host these important events concurrently, we also recognize that it poses challenges for campus.

It is recommended that faculty consider scheduling time-sensitive activities, such as grading, in anticipation of Commencement taking place on a Monday. I also encourage flexibility with regard to students who may be graduating and enrolled in zero-week classes.

For more details, including the schedule of all events, visit http://studentlife.uoregon.edu/commencement.aspx.

Things are bad in Canada

2/17/2010: People may remember current Senate President Tublitz’s Motion on Financial Transparency, from last April. Passed on a unanimous voice vote, it says

MOTION: The University Senate directs the University of Oregon Administration to establish a publicly accessible, on-line budget reporting system at the University of Oregon by 1 September 2009 that will allow users to track current and retroactive individual university expenditures as is currently done at our sister institution Oregon State University on their budget reporting website.

Despite speaking against the motion in the Senate, a week or so later, VP for Finance Frances Dyke agreed to implement the system, in this memo:

Obviously it is now nearly a year since the motion, and 6 months past the date Ms Dyke suggested for having a working system. There is something in place – available through the employee menu in duckweb – but it does not even allow you to drill down to the specific account level, much less transactions. So, for example, you can’t see what you have spent from your ASA or grant account or what is left.

In December Peter Gilkey appointed a Senate Working Group to help move this along. They are working now with the UO Controller, Kelly Wolf – who has already done a lot to improve reporting of UO financial information.

2 weeks ago the group met with the OSU VP for Finance Mark McCambridge, who showed us his system – now several years old – and talked about its benefits in terms of trust, transparency, and efficiency.  

The group was supposed to meet Tuesday with the programmers in charge of the UO effort, but that was canceled by the UO administration at the last minute without explanation. They are going to try again to meet with the programmer in charge of the project today.

The following week the group meets with General Counsel Melinda Grier about how Oregon’s public records law applies to this system. McCambridge has said there have been no problems with the OSU system.

Oh yeah, what about Canada?

EDMONTON – University of Alberta faculty have agreed to take six unpaid days of vacation next year in exchange for the chance to review and critique previously confidential financial planning documents.

What does it take to get an A at UO?

2/16/2010: KVAL has been doing a lot of good reporting on UO lately. From Todd Milbourn:

A study conducted by the Undergraduate Council found the number of A’s given increased 10 percent over a 12-year period.  The school’s overall grade point average rose 5 percent. Meanwhile, the average SAT scores of the student body remained the same.
Members of the Undergraduate Council are now proposing that each field of study come up with its own grading standards, which are clearly conveyed to the faculty.

Obviously this problem is not specific to UO. I think the biggest problem is that standards are inconsistent across departments. So a freshman gets an A in some gut class and a C in Math (say) and thinks this means they have a comparative advantage (I think this is the phrase an economist would use) in the gut, so they major in it. They don’t realize an A in the gut major is as just as average as a C in Math is. I don’t know the details but it doesn’t sound like the Undergraduate Council proposal will address that.

A colleague writes about how discouraging the incessant whining and wheedling for grades is. I completely agree. We’ve set up a system where students have more reason to use our office hours to try to talk up their grade than to talk with us about the subject of the course. We should be able to do better at this, at least at Oregon!

More on discrimination case

 2/16/2010:  From today’s Karen McGowan story in the RG, follow up to yesterday:

A former professor who last week won a reverse race discrimination lawsuit against the University of Oregon said Monday that she feels vindicated by the federal jury’s verdict but is still paying a high price for the unfair treatment.

A U.S. District Court jury awarded Paula Rogers more than $164,000 after finding that she suffered adverse treatment and a hostile work environment in the UO’s East Asian Languages and Literatures department because she is only half Japanese. Jurors also found that Rogers suffered departmental retaliation for filing a grievance over the discrimination.
“This experience has been very traumatizing, and my life’s pursuit and career have been derailed,” Rogers said. “Although I appreciate the damages awarded, I would rather have my job back.”

Rogers was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and American father. She grew up there, first coming to the United States at 18 to attend college. She called her experience at the UO a “microcosm” of the inequality that mixed-race residents face in Japan.

According to the statement, the UO spent about $500,000 in attorney fees in the course of the nearly five-year legal battle.
UO general counsel Melinda Greer (Grier) was unavailable to respond Monday to Rogers’ and Dugan’s comments.

If I understand the process correctly, this means UO pays $500,000 in fees to the Oregon DOJ for the costs of the defense. The $164,000 damages, on the other hand, are paid by an insurance fund established by the state. You’re doing a heckuva job, Ms Grier. PS – here’s the link to the East Asian Languages and Literatures Diversity Plan. Writing those plans cost UO another $1 million or so. Very effective, Dr. Martinez.